Iran confirms arrest of five British sailors for straying 500 yards into its coastal waters

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London, Dec. 1 (ANI): Iran has confirmed the arrest of five British sailors, who allegedly crossed into the country's territorial waters.

"The Britons have been arrested by the Revolutionary Guards' naval forces. Confronting foreign forces and detaining them in the Gulf is the Revolutionary Guards' duty," The Telegraph quoted Ali Reza Tangsiri, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards navy, as saying.

The five were crewing the racing yacht Kingdom of Bahrain,from Bahrain to Dubai when it was stopped on Wednesday. It is thought to have strayed less than 500 yards inside Iranian waters.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has downplayed the incident calling it a "purely consular matter."

"The [Iranian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be making statement about it today. From our point of view it is a purely consular matter involving five civilians and we look forward to it being treated as such," he said.

"There's certainly no confrontation or argument. As far as we are aware, these people are being well treated, which is right and what we would expect of a country like Iran," he added.

Miliband also distanced it from the capture of 15 Royal Navy servicemen by Iran two years ago.

"I think it is important to say that these are civilians, not Royal Naval personnel. It seems that they may have strayed inadvertedly into Iranian waters," he said.

The yachtsmen have been named as Oliver Smith, 31, from Southampton; Oliver Young, 21, from Saltash in Cornwall; Luke Porter, 21, from Weston-super-Mare in Somerset; David Bloomer, originally from Ireland; and Sam Usher. (ANI)

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